S. van der Velde
- Physiological and genomic features of highly alkaliphilic hydrogen-utilizing Betaproteobacteria from a continental serpentinizing site
- Nature Communications
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- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Serpentinization, or the aqueous alteration of ultramafic rocks, results in challenging environments for life in continental sites due to the combination of extremely high pH, low salinity and lack of obvious electron acceptors and carbon sources. Nevertheless, certain Betaproteobacteria have been frequently observed in such environments. Here we describe physiological and genomic features of three related Betaproteobacterial strains isolated from highly alkaline (pH 11.6) serpentinizing springs at The Cedars, California. All three strains are obligate alkaliphiles with an optimum for growth at pH 11 and are capable of autotrophic growth with hydrogen, calcium carbonate and oxygen. The three strains exhibit differences, however, regarding the utilization of organic carbon and electron acceptors. Their global distribution and physiological, genomic and transcriptomic characteristics indicate that the strains are adapted to the alkaline and calcium-rich environments represented by the terrestrial serpentinizing ecosystems. We propose placing these strains in a new genus ‘Serpentinomonas’.
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